VIRGINIA, USA — The Virginia Department of Health officials said Thursday the first cases of two COVID-19 variants -- B.1.427 and B.1.429 -- have been found in samples that were collected between December 2020 and February 2021 from Virginia residents.
The B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants, which first emerged in California back in the summer of 2020, are associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19, health department officials said.
At this time, VDH officials tell WUSA9 that there is no evidence that the infections with these variants could cause more severe disease.
These two variants were only most recently added to CDC’s Variant of Concern list.
With the new variants emerging, VDH officials said they have now identified a total of 14 cases of the B.1.427 variant, nine cases of the B.1.429 variant, 26 cases of the B.1.351 variant (first discovered in South Africa) and 127 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (first discovered in the United Kingdom).
VDH officials said in a release Thursday they expect to see new variants of the virus as COVID-19 continues to spread.
Officials urge individuals to continue wearing masks properly, staying at least six feet from others, avoiding crowds, washing hands often, getting vaccinated for COVID-19 when it is your turn and most importantly, staying home if you are infected with COVID-19 or if you have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
Back on March 11, VDH officials discovered a variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in South Africa in Northern Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Health and the Department of General Services Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) said the first case of the B.1.351 variant was identified in a sample from a resident of Northern Virginia with no reported recent travel history.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been working with state public health, academic, and commercial laboratories to increase domestic strain surveillance capacity to sequence thousands of specimens every week," the Virginia Department of Health said in a previous release.
VDH did not specify where in Northern Virginia the patient lived.
This is a developing story that will be updated once more information becomes available. Stay with WUSA9 for the latest.